VAN HELSING – Season 1 Episode 3 – SPOILERS
Flesh (Vincent Gale) shows the attacking vampires that he bleeds. “I’m human. I bleed,” he says. “The dead girl turned me.”
Vampires heal quickly, just like Vanessa. In the VAN HELSING universe, vampirism is a disease which has almost no incubation period, and is transmitted through exchange of bodily fluids, Anyone bitten by a vamp is immediately turned (unless, like Vanessa, their blood contains the anti-vamp factor). Vanessa tries to get Doc to bite her, and when that doesn’t work, she bites Doc. Shortly thereafter, Doc is cured, and that’s a really good thing, because Doc has the only scientific mind available. This is a medical drama, with the Doc and her miracle patient holed up in what’s left of Seattle Valley General Hospital trying to cure a plague.
There is a strong physical resemblance between Kelly Overton and WYNONNA EARP’s Melanie Scrofano, so much so that Holly Raczynski is stunt double for both of them. Nonetheless, Wynonna Earp and Vanessa Helsing are very dissimilar characters.
Isolation will make their research difficult, and one wonders why there has been no attempt to communicate with the outside world. One of the problems experienced by aircraft during recent Icelandic volcanic eruptions was that the ash cloud was transparent to many radar (RAdio Detection And Ranging) frequencies, so at least some radio frequencies should penetrate the ash cloud and still work for communications, and the hospital must have some communications equipment. Why hasn’t Axel tried to make contact with whatever command headquarters the military has in place?
Duke Stevenson (top) as ‘cop in cruiser’. George Stevenson (bottom) as ‘vampire cop in cruiser’.
In the second episode, when Major Stoker tries to tell Doc that the threat is a virus, Doc points out that the soldiers would have come wearing hazmat suits if that were true. If it’s neither a virus nor a bacterium, a parasite seems the most likely culprit. Whatever it is affects the brain in a strange way. Like the green goo on another SyFy show, KILLJOYS, it renders people emotionless while allowing rational thought, and once it is removed, the emotions return. The difference is that VAN HELSING’s organism causes the host to become compulsively cannibalistic. (Human hosts seem to prefer to dine on other humans, but in a pinch, other species will apparently do.)
MORE QUESTIONS: If vampires can convert humans with a bite, and those bitten can convert others, does it work the other way around? Can someone bitten and cured by Vanessa also spread the cure? (Flesh, the first vamp cured by Vanessa, is seen to be stitching up a self-inflicted wound, which indicates that at least her power of rapid healing is not passed on to those she cures.) If a vamp bites a raccoon, is the raccoon infected? If so, will the raccoon prefer the blood of other raccoons, or does the parasite always make its host prefer to eat humans?
Remember Wendy, the woman left outside in Episode one? A band of vampires turn up outside the hospital demanding that Vanessa be turned over to them in exchange for Wendy’s life. Wendy’s husband is OK with that, but Axel shoots the hostage before negotiations can go any further. Somehow, Wendy’s death (along with a short excursion into the outside world with Axel to get parts for the generator) convinces Vanessa that her daughter most likely is dead. (Or she is trying to lull Axel into a false sense of complacency, in hopes of making her escape from him easier.) It has been three years since Vanessa has seen Dylan, but Vanessa was unconscious for most of that time, and to her it must seem like yesterday.
Fiona Vroom (Wendy) will be Wilson in episodes two and five of DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY, the BBC AMERICA series based on the book by Douglas Adams. Episode two is due to air on 29 October and episode five on 19 November. Vroom is also Maggie in the Hallmark movie GARAGE SALE MYSTERIES: THE NOVEL MURDERS, based on the 2010 novel Garage Sale Stalker by Suzi Weinert, about an antiques expert (Lori Loughlin) who realizes that a murder scene she happens upon exactly matches the scene of a fictional murder in a classic mystery novel. THE NOVEL MURDERS will next air on The Hallmark Channel on 23 October at 7pm.
VAN HELSING story editor Karen Lam has written and directed two feature films, both of which are available on Amazon Video. EVANGELINE (2013) is about a college student who is beaten and left for dead, but is rescued by a demon spirit who empowers her with a lust for vengeance that imperils her soul. In STAINED (2010), a bookseller rekindles an old romance and becomes lost in an emotionally abusive relationship. Her foster sister drives across the country to rescue her and explain that her lover cannot possibly be who she thinks he is.
David Cubitt as John
Jackie May, who wrote this episode, also wrote the last four episodes of STRANGE EMPIRE. All 13 episodes of that series can be viewed on Netflix in the US, and on the CBC website in Canada.
David Cubitt (John) has an as yet unspecified role in SHUT IN, a science fiction thriller about a widowed child psychologist (Naomi Watts) living an isolated existence in rural New England, who is caught in a deadly winter storm and must find a way to rescue a young boy (Jacob Tremblay) before he is lost forever. Filmed in Sutton, Quebec, SHUT IN will be relelased in the US on 11 November. A trailer is available on YouTube